Commes Des Revolution – #whomademyclothes
(all photos sourced via @fash_rev)

(all photos sourced via @fash_rev)

We’ve just wrapped up Fashion Revolution Week 2019.

You might have seen the ever-growing hashtag ‘#whomademyclothes’ rampant across social media platforms. And like a call and response at your favourite artist’s show, brands are responding with ‘#Imadeyourclothes’.

So what exactly is Fashion Revolution Week, who’s behind these harmonised hashtags, and why is it important?

The international movement came to fruition after the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh. An industry disrupting moment that highlighted the consequences of being an unconcerned and detached consumer. A tragedy that highlighted how we as consumers, alongside producers and brands have a responsibility to take better care of the people and the environment impacted by our frivolous purchasing decisions.

Annually, the two organisations that represent this whirlwind movement (Fashion Revolution CIC and the Fashion Revolution Foundation) run the harmonised hashtag campaign across social media; with the intention to change the way our clothes are sourced, produced and consumed.

Skin + Pepper Fashion Revolution

They push for collaboration between all those who contribute to putting clothes in your wardrobe, including you. And beyond that, they push for brands to operate with complete transparency with their supply chain. Like true industry disruptors they only lead by example, as their website displays in plain sight how they are funded, alongside all Financial Statements leading back to 2015.

Allowing another incident like the Rana Plaza collapse to happen would insinuate that as brands and consumers across the globe, we care more about how we look and what we wear than we do the quality of life for some.

A complete change in behaviours from farmer to consumer is what we need to ensure that we’re not sacrificing lives for new jeans. Fashion Revolution and the week long, global campaign that they run is pivotal to not only helping us make better decisions, and smoothly transition into a more mindful approach to our beloved industry, but also serve as a digital community and network for us all to plug into.


Skin + Pepper Fashion Revolution Social Campaign

But what does this all mean?

In short, it means that consumers are ready for ethical practices across the industry, and organisations like Fashion Revolution are providing the resources, knowledge and pathway for brands to be able to.

– Kyah Parrott

What we really mean

The discourse around colourism in the fashion industry is sorely outdated.

Mainstream media platforms have been taken by storm by the likes of Black women like Issa Rae, and men like Jordan Peele. Collectively, their viewpoints reflect and take action towards creating space within mainstream media for Black people. Issa Rae’s infamous comment at the 2017 Emmy’s, “I’m rooting for everybody Black”, was controversial to say the least. But a welcome change of pace for the Black community in relation to an industry that’s overly saturated in a distinct shade of white.

issa-rae-pf1.png


Once upon a time this was not so.

The dialogue in the entertainment industry around female rappers is indicative of the archaic views thrust upon the Black community, and subsequently adopted by us. That there’s only room for one.

That “one” was the tokenistic approach to silencing cries of racism. We’ve seen it in movies, tv shows, runways and practically everything that reaches the wider public.

The modelling industry has been consistently under fire for it’s reluctance to change. While pay rates rise across industries, models are still fighting for basic OH&S and in a lot of instances, wages that reflect modelling as a profession.

photo sourced via @adutakech

photo sourced via @adutakech

So it should come as no surprise that the same antiquated rhetoric and ideologies around tokenism that make female rap go-round, also penetrate our beloved industry. There can only be one.

Models have been given a voice alongside the rest of us since social media became so widely adapted. They’ve been calling out casting directors left, right and centre for the absurd requests made. Like to only drink water for 24 hours before the show. Imagine.

But many models, almost always Black, have been calling out the industry for blatant colourism. The favouritism of lighter skinned Black women permeates across the industry, globally. Particularly for commercial work. The fetishization of dark skin Black women is rife in editorial displays, but when it comes to selling products to the wider public? Brands tend to go for the iteration of Black that still incorporates elements of whiteness.

Still, we remain in a vicious cycle of unlearning in an industry that taught us ‘there can only be one’. Our words tend to reflect this doctrine. We say colourism in the industry has simply got to go. What that really means is that the minuscule percentage of gigs allotted to Black women should be equally spread across dark skin and light skin Black women. Which is indeed true, but what we really mean is that at a bare minimum, double down on that percentage and make room for us all. Whiteness is treated like a canvas across the industry, and if the casting call doesn’t call for ethnic, exotic or specifically Black, Black models are dismissed.
So put us forward, light skin, dark skin and every shade in between; for your regular shmegular roles typically reserved for non-Black models.


Profile Highlight - Diet Prada

It’s a trending topic just as much as it is cyclical. And like the seasons, it keeps coming back around. The concept of appropriation across the industry, whether it be from a cultural standpoint, or a creative stance just won’t go away.

There’s a fine line between appreciation and appropriation. One involves being inspired by a piece of work and applying bits and pieces of the concept to your own, crediting those who are due; whereas the other involves simply taking the concept and mimicking it.


They say there is no such thing as an original idea, and the constant consumption of media through social channels makes it all the more difficult to tune into your own reality and draw content from your own experiences. But where there’s a will (and a genuine conversation to be had) there most certainly is a way.

Independent designers have it tough. The barriers to entry for the industry can take lots of time, lots of money, and lots of persistence to break down. And once your foot is in the door, there’s a world of business out there that takes equally as many resources to understand and operate within. As a result, patents aren’t entirely accessible to those whose sole focus is to create something original, and bring a concept to life. Subsequently, the end result is easily ripped off, appropriated, and sold for a fraction of the price by brands who really should know better.

Never fear, fashion fans. Diet Prada is an Instagram hero that calls out big and small brands alike. After all– credit where credit is due, right? On Diet Prada’s page nobody is safe, except for Naomi Campbell who is truly cherished and rightfully so #iconic. To keep up with the latest scandals from H&M to Haute Couture powerhouses, click here. Not sure what you’re in for? More of this:

(photo sourced via @diet_prada)

(photo sourced via @diet_prada)

“Are we seeing triple?  The @clermonttwins are serving Kim K replica “realness” in platinum tresses and shameless bootlegs of a @laquan_smith zipper-back dress from @fashionnova .  An odd move considering they’ve supported LaQuan in the past by wearing his designs and walking in his shows. With AsSeTs like theirs, would you trust the zipper on the $19.97 version?”

– Kyah Parrott

LAFW: Nicholas Mayfield

After three very short days, LA Fashion Week is over.

While our home base is here in Melbourne, Australia, we’ve kept a close watch on the happenings of eclectic LA.

Home of the classic ‘heroin chic’ style that’s taken the world by storm, and been adopted and appropriated thrice over– there’s no denying that LA’s fashion scene is one to tune into.

Naturally, a quick social media peruse will update you on the who, the what, the where, and the ‘why the hell not’. So, on a lazy Sunday, with phone in palm and snacks never too far away, I went in for the investigative Instagram scroll. My findings? Say hello to Nicholas Mayfield.

(photo sourced via www.instagram.com/lafw)

(photo sourced via www.instagram.com/lafw)

Mayfield is an artist and designer that just had his own showcase in LAFW.

He started off as a cut and sew designer at his own label SOULFUL COMMANDOE, before revisiting who he aspired to be as a child–a painter. He now creates a beautiful fusion of the two, and works with big names in the entertainment industry like Drake, Chris Brown, Snoop Dogg, E-40 and Lil Wayne to name a few. Under ‘who am I’ on his website, he describes his inspiration:


“My work originates from Black History, Americana with the raising of in the boom of skateboard and hip-hop culture. From the very racial strong 80s/90s of being a black male during the crack, gang and strong prison era.”

A concept that we see take form in his art and clothes.

(photo sourced via www.mrnicholasmayfield.com?

(photo sourced via www.mrnicholasmayfield.com?

Though his website speaks frequently of the ‘Warhol effect’ and everybody getting their 15 minutes of fame, I’m going to take a guess– we’ll be seeing a lot more of Nicholas Mayfield in the minutes, months and years to come. After all, Nicholas Mayfield Over Everything, no?

– Kyah Parrott

That's A Wrap

The Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, or VAMFF as we like to call it, has come to a close once again. Everyone who has participated will need until Wednesday next week to return your call– it’s been a busy ten days and we’re all exhausted.

(photo sourced via Raw Pixel)

(photo sourced via Raw Pixel)

Some of us more than others.

Last week we mentioned that Skin+Pepper’s own Dexter would be walking in two VAMFF runways, one of which was the Menswear Runway presented by GQ.

(photo sourced via @mjbale)

(photo sourced via @mjbale)

A stand out moment in the show was M.J. Bale’s showcase, where the use of sporting props told stories that contextualised the collection. Those in attendance and Instagram addicts alike understood immediately the setting, the character and the experience behind the runway looks.


M.J. Bale’s collection was displayed alongside a long list of worthy contributors, including:

Strateas Carlucci, MNDATORY, Chris Ran Lin, Christian Kimber, Dom Bagnato, bassike, Jac & Jack, and Client Liaison Deluxe Line.

On Saturday evening, Dexter also appeared on Runway 6 presented by Fashion Journal. This particular showcase focused heavily on homegrown talent within Melbourne’s designer community. They kept it simple, kept it classy, and made a point to ensure their runway reflected the same level of diversity we see in their magazine. Our hat goes off to you, FJ.

The designers they selected for showcasing were A.BCH, Búl, NIQUE, KUWAII, HEW, and a personal favourite of mine– Lois Hazel. Lois’ approach to sustainable fashion and diverse representation, too, makes it seem so simple we wonder how others still struggle.

Until next year to VAMFF and it’s fashion minded patrons.

That’s a wrap!

- Kyah Parrott

VAMFF Runway Trends
 
 
 
 

The most anticipated fashion event of the year Australia wide is currently underway– the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival.

Though the process of selection is equally as slim as it is careful, a lot of our favourite home-grown labels have a place in VAMFF’s catalogue. Whether through independent events or staking a claim on a VAMFF runway.

Here at the office, we may have noticed that this year’s casting directors have decided to #AddPepper to the runways.

Skin+Pepper’s own Dexter will be walking in both Menswear Runway presented by GQ, and Runway 6.

Beyond that, we’re seeing a lot more diversity in the marketing aspect of VAMFF alone.

(photo from VAMFF’s own Instagram @vamff)

(photo from VAMFF’s own Instagram @vamff)

It’s no secret that the fashion industry is rooted in traditionalism, and subsequently is resistant to global changes.

Social Media has been a huge factor in models of varying ethnicities and body shapes being able to claim centre stage. A single tweet from an aspiring model can ripple out into the digital ether and find itself in the hands of fashion movers and shakers across the globe. Much like Aaron Philip, a Black, trans, disabled model who recently signed to Elite NYC.

Philip was born in Antigua and raised in the U.S. She tweeted back in 2017 that she aspired to be agency represented, and the rest has literally become history. Read more about Philip’s story here.

(photo from model’s own Instagram @aaron___philip)

(photo from model’s own Instagram @aaron___philip)

Essentially, it’s the social aspect of social media that fosters its’ power. We’re awfully tired of seeing the same cut-copy standard of beauty or typecasting that limits minorities to ‘supporting roles’. Society has more power now than they ever have in influencing what we see on the runway. Ashley Graham–a renowned model with a wonderfully curvaceous frame was announced to be walking in VAMFF Runway 4, and headlining as a keynote speaker at the Australian Fashion Summit.

It’s been a refreshing experience to see such a multitude of diverse experiences reflected in VAMFF so far, but we’re hoping that as the fashion trends of the seasons’ collections come and go, the trend of representation and diverse casting becomes a constant.

- Kyah Parrott

 
 
Skin+Pepper at M/FW 2018
 
 
 
 

You’d hardly be able to tell that the latest member of the Skin+Pepper team was only 16 years old when he walked the runway at Melbourne Fashion Week last September. With the kind of dark curls hair stylists only dream of and a natural calmness and grace about his presence, our model Dexter is a force to be reckoned with on the fashion scene.

Walking in an astounding five catwalks, we were so proud to see him among some of Australia’s most-sought after models, wearing the country’s most exclusive designer brands. For those who attended the week-long event, you may have caught Dexter for the opening of Street Runway 1, Underground Runway 2, Street Runway 2, Student Townhall Runway 4 or the Closing Town Hall Runway.

Dexter’s ability to play chameleon, jumping from show to show and adapting to the tone and look of each brand, is testament to his natural ability and what we’re sure will be the reason for his growing success in the modelling industry. From street shows, to high-energy student shows and even walking in the final closing showcase, this boy did not disappoint on performance and fit seamlessly into the string of seasoned catwalk models.

And while we’re celebrating Dexter’s personal triumphs, we’re also excited for what this means for the Australian fashion industry. We’ve previously felt that the industry in this country has been slow to acknowledge and reflect the multiculturalism that’s evident in every aspect of Australian culture. Thankfully, as a MFW stylist and model casting panellist had put it “The industry has finally recognised the need for change.”

“It’s sad but it’s taken this long. It’s a very welcome change, and it was very evident at the casting. We had a huge cross-section of ages, cultural backgrounds, skin colour, and body shapes,” she claimed.


With a mix of ethnicities, ages and body shapes across the entire week, we can’t help but feel that there is more of a place for Skin+Pepper than there has ever been before.

For those of you who have followed us for a while and for those who are just getting to know us, thank you so much for joining us on this journey; a journey that brings us closer to inclusivity and fair representation each and every day. We know this isn’t the last you’ll see of Dexter, or any of the other S+P talent for that matter. Stay tuned for all the exciting things to come.